Seattle mayor seeks discussion about bid for 2024 Olympics
Saturday, March 23, 2013
SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has asked a local sports group to open informal discussions about a possible bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
In response to a query from the U.S. Olympic Committee to 35 major cities, McGinn asked the Seattle Sports Commission to find out more about becoming a host city.
"The mayor asked that we look at the opportunity. Is this a feasible or viable opportunity for the city?" said Ralph Morton, executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, a division of Visit Seattle, formerly the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Scott Blackmun, CEO for the Olympic Committee, said it has two-plus years to decide whether it wants to submit a U.S. bid for the 2024 summer games. New York submitted a bid to host the 2012 games ultimately staged in London. Chicago bid on the 2016 games.
Blackmun said the USOC wanted to begin discussions with potential cities about the money and infrastructure necessary to host the games.
"Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership," he wrote.
He cautioned that staging the games is an "extraordinary undertaking" and likely means an operating budget in excess of $3 billion. Requirements include 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic village to sleep 16,500 with a 5,000-person dining hall, an international airport that can handle thousands of travelers per day, public transportation to venues and a workforce of as much as 200,000.
The Seattle Sports Commission produces and promotes large-scale sports events including NCAA basketball tournaments, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and the Boeing golf classic.
Morton said the commission will take a business approach, asking whether it's financially and structurally possible for the city to host an Olympics. London spent more than $13 billion on the games.
"We're growing our city. We're already looking at transportation infrastructure. The question is whether it's realistic or not. We want to leave a positive legacy, not build a bunch of buildings that will never be used."